The electoral district of Medicine Hat has existed in two iterations. The first was created when the province was founded in 1905. It was formed from the old Medicine Hat electoral district that returned members to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. Back in 1905 the district covered a large portion of rural south east Alberta. The district shrunk until it became an urban only riding.
The district was abolished in 1971 to become part of Medicine Hat-Redcliff. That district was abolished in 1979 and once again became Medicine Hat. The 2010 boundary redistribution saw minor changes made to align the riding with new boundaries of Medicine Hat.
map in relation to other districts in Alberta goes here
Legal description from An Act to establish and provide for the Government of the Province of Alberta 1905.
The electoral division of Medicine Hat, bounded as follows:– Commencing at the intersection of the eastern boundary of the said province of Alberta by the north boundary of the 38th township; thence westerly along the north boundary of the 38th townships to the meridian between the 10th and 11th ranges, west of the 4th meridian; thence southerly along the meridian between the 10th and 11th ranges to the southern boundary of the said province of Alberta; thence easterly along the said southern boundary of the province of Alberta to the southeast corner thereof; thence northerly along the eastern boundary of the said province of Alberta to the point of commencement.
Legal description from the Statutes of Alberta 2003, Electoral Divisions Act.
Starting at the intersection of the west Medicine Hat city boundary with the north Medicine Hat city boundary; then 1. generally east and southeast along the city boundary to the northeasterly extension of Carry Drive; 2. southwest along the extension and Carry Drive and its southwesterly extension to the Trans Canada highway; 3. northwest along the Trans Canada highway to the left bank of the South Saskatchewan River; 4. west along the left bank to the west Medicine Hat city boundary; 5. generally north, east and north to the starting point.
The provincial electoral district of Medicine Hat has a long history that goes back to 1888 under the old Medicine Hat, Northwest Territories electoral district. The district was carried over when the province of Alberta was created in 1905.
The first election in 1905 saw former Northwest Territories MLA William Finlay win the district in a hotly contested race. Finlay was re-elected in 1909 and resigned in 1910 so cabinet minister Charles Mitchell could have a seat in the Legislature.
Mitchell only held the district for one term before being defeated by Conservative Nelson Spencer in the 1913 election. Spencer's win was considered an upset. Spencer was re-elected by acclamation under Chapter 38 of the Elections Act in 1917 for serving in the Canadian Army during World War I. He retired from the Legislature in 1921 and moved to British Columbia.
The Liberal government passed a law in 1921 that turned Medicine Hat into a two-member constituency during the 5th Legislature. The two seats were won by United Farmers candidate Peren Baker who headed the polls and William Johnston a Dominion Labor candidate who finished second. Baker was confirmed to a cabinet post by acclamation in a ministerial by-election on December 9, 1921.
Johnson died in 1925, vacating his seat. The by-election saw former Speaker of the Legislature Charles Pingle win the district for the Liberal party. The district was once again mandated to return a single member in 1926. Pingle stood for re-election while Baker moved to the Cypress electoral district. This was also the first election conducted with single transferable vote.
Pingle died in 1928, forcing another by-election. Liberal candidate Hector Lang retained the seat for the party. He was re-elected in 1930 and defeated running for a third term in 1935 by Social Credit candidate John Robinson.
Robinson held the district for four terms being re-elected in 1940, 1944, 1948 and 1952. He was appointed Minister of Industries and Labour by Premier Ernest Manning in 1948 and held that post until his death in 1953.
The by-election in 1953 saw John Robinson's wife Elizabeth Robinson retain the seat for Social Credit. She held the district for three terms before dying in 1961.
The last by-election held in the district in 1961 saw Harry Leinweber become the third member of Social Credit to win the district. He was re-elected in 1963 and 1967 before retiring in 1971.
Medicine Hat was redistributed to include the town of Redcliff in 1971 boundary redistribution. The new riding was called Medicine Hat-Redcliff. The electoral district of Medicine Hat was re-created in 1979 containing just the city of Medicine Hat.
The first election in the new Medicine Hat district saw former Medicine Hat-Redcliff incumbent Jim Horsman won the district in a landslide winning a 10,000 vote margin over the second place candidate. He would improve on that victory winning his biggest margin in the 1982 general election finishing almost 12,000 votes ahead of second place. He was also re-elected in 1986 and 1989 before retiring in 1993.
Rob Renner was elected as a Progressive Conservative candidate for the first time in the 1993 general election. He was re-elected in 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2008.
Blake Pedersen was elected as a Wildrose candidate in 2012. On December 17, 2014, he was one of nine Wildrose MLAs who crossed the floor to join the Alberta Progressive Conservative caucus.
Due to laws existing in the Legislative Assembly Act a series of ministerial by-elections were needed to confirm members appointed to the Greenfield government. Seven by-elections in total were called for an election day of December 9, 1921. This was set for one week after the 1921 Canadian federal election.
The by-election writ was dropped on November 16, 1921, United Farmers incumbent Perren Baker who had been appointed as Minister of Education ran unopposed and was acclaimed at the nomination deadline held on December 2, 1921. The timing of the by-elections was deliberately chosen to coincide with the federal election to ensure that opposition candidates would be unlikely to oppose the cabinet ministers.
William McCombs was a candidate jointly nominated by the United Farmers of Alberta and the Dominion Labor Party. The party percent change is reflected from the combined party percentages in the 1921 general election.
Question A: Do you approve additional types of outlets for the
sale of beer, wine and spirituous liquor subject to a local vote?
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined
12,586 Eligible Electors, Turnout 44.10%
On October 30, 1957 a stand-alone plebiscite was held province wide in all 50 of the then current provincial electoral districts in Alberta. The government decided to consult Alberta voters to decide on liquor sales and mixed drinking after a divisive debate in the Legislature. The plebiscite was intended to deal with the growing demand for reforming antiquated liquor control laws.
The plebiscite was conducted in two parts. Question A asked in all districts, asked the voters if the sale of liquor should be expanded in Alberta, while Question B asked in a handful of districts within the corporate limits of Calgary and Edmonton asked if men and woman were allowed to drink together in establishments.
Province wide Question A of the plebiscite passed in 33 of the 50 districts while Question B passed in all five districts. Medicine Hat just barely voted in favour of the proposal with the difference between Yes and No being four votes. Voter turnout in the district was slightly below the province wide average of 46%.
Official district returns were released to the public on December 31, 1957. The Social Credit government in power at the time did not considered the results binding. However the results of the vote led the government to repeal all existing liquor legislation and introduce an entirely new Liquor Act.
Municipal districts lying inside electoral districts that voted against the Plebiscite were designated Local Option Zones by the Alberta Liquor Control Board and considered effective dry zones, business owners that wanted a license had to petition for a binding municipal plebiscite in order to be granted a license.
On November 19, 2004 a Student Vote was conducted at participating Alberta schools to parallel the 2004 Alberta general election results. The vote was designed to educate students and simulate the electoral process for persons who have not yet reached the legal majority. The vote was conducted in 80 of the 83 provincial electoral districts with students voting for actual election candidates. Schools with a large student body that reside in another electoral district had the option to vote for candidates outside of the electoral district then where they were physically located.